The long-renowned “Queen of French Cheeses,” Brie, is creamy in texture, soft to the touch, mild in flavor and encased in its own velvety, edible bloomy rind. For centuries, this cow’s milk cheese was found only in the most luxurious of kitchens, aged for 4-6 weeks, then prepared to perfection inside a steady wood-burning oven. The resulting cheese exterior was slightly charred and smoky, while the interior warmed to a heavenly, butter-like consistency.
This cheese was then, and remains today, the ideal pairing complement with toasted artisan breads and crackers, assorted cured meats, fresh fruits and berries, tangy chutneys and jams, pickled vegetables, and a variety of salted and dry-roasted nuts.
Although Brie is phenomenally versatile as an ingredient, it stands alone as the most brilliant of grilled cheeses and the consummate centerpiece to your next charcuterie spread. Grilled Brie is not only simplistic in preparation, but phenomenally complex in flavor (particularly when introduced to heat) and stunning in presentation. See the recipe below for a hot, smoky twist on an old-school classic.
Recommendations for Grilled Brie Pairings:
Toasted Breads: Ciabatta, Cranberry-Walnut, French Baguette, Levain, Miche
Crackers: Crostinis, Grissinis, Rye Crisps, Plain Crackers
Dry-Roasted and Salted Nuts: Almonds, Black Walnuts, Cashews, Macadamia, Pecans, Pistachios
Fresh Fruits: Blueberries, Cherries, Dates, Figs, Grapes, Honeycrisp Apples, Olives, Pears, Strawberries
Spreads: Apricot Preserves, Ground Mustard, Red Pepper Hummus, Kalamata Tapenade, Sweet Onion Chutney, Wildflower Honey
Pickled Vegetables: Beets, Bell Peppers, Cauliflower, Cucumbers, Garlic Scapes, Jalapeños, Olives, Shallots
Meats: Bresaola, Capicola, Chorizo, Jamón Serrano, Porchetta, Prosciutto, Salami, Saucisson, Sopressata, Smoked Sausages
Compliments: Olive Oil, Balsamic Reduction, Freshly Ground Salt and Peppercorn
- 2 tablespoons of dried rosemary leaves, ground into a fine powder
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
- 1/2 stick of butter, melted
- 2 16oz wheels of brie cheese
- 1 handful of Applewood chips
- Prior to grilling, preheat grill to medium-high using the Two-Zone Cooking Method.
- Wrap woodchips in an 8” sheet of tin foil, then perforate with a fork or knife. Apply wood packet in back corner of the direct heat grilling zone.
- Whisk together the melted butter, ground rosemary and garlic, then brush over entire surface of the brie wheel.
- Once woodchip packet billows with smoke, gently place cheese atop the direct heat grilling zone and sear with the grill lid open until char marks are well-defined, which usually takes 60-90 seconds on each side.
- Next, turn the grill down to low heat and transfer the wheel to the cooler, indirect heat zone to finish cooking. Close the grill lid and smoke the cheese for an additional 8-10 minutes.
- Remove the brie from the grill immediately.
- Plate alongside toasted artisan breads, an assortment of cured meats, fresh herbs, fruits and berries, pickled vegetables and dry roasted nuts.
Two-Zone Cooking Method: To create one hot direct heat zone and one cooler indirect heat zone, only heat one side of the grill to 450 degrees F. This technique is imperative to the pizza grilling process.
Gas: For a 2-burner grill, turn the right side of the grill to high & leave the left side off. If using a 3-burner grill, turn the far right side of the grill to high, the middle to medium-low and leave the left side off. Finally, when working with a 4-burner grill, turn the far right side of grill to high, middle right to medium, middle left to low, & leave the far-left burner off.
Dual-Zone Grilling Surface on Charcoal: Ignite the charcoal in a chimney starter. When coals are glowing red, dump coals onto the grill floor. Rake coals, pushing some to one side of the grill and slanting the rest to the opposite side. This'll create one high-piled hot zone and one cooler zone. For every hour of cooking, add a half-stack of coals.
Hardwood Smoker Packs: Tear off an 8 in. sheet of tin foil. Pour a handful of your favorite hardwood chips onto the foil in a mound. Wrap the foil around the chips to create a package-of-sorts. With a knife or fork, perforate the top of the packet allowing smoke to billow from the package when the chips are heated.